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A Detailed Look Into Being Successful on SlideShare

A Detailed Look Into Being Successful on SlideShare

It takes more than a PowerPoint presentation to get traction on SlideShare. With a little finesse, this platform can help you find success.

With 70 million users, now’s the time to dive in and make yourself known on SlideShare. But with over 400,000 presentations uploaded every month, you have to put extra effort and marketing muscle in to boost your work.

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A look at optimization: How many slides should you have? How many words per slide?

The number of slides you have in your deck should fit your topic. Most decks on SlideShare feature anywhere from 30-50 slides. However, decks with over 1 million views range from hundreds to a handful of slides.

SlideShare recommends you have no more than 25 to 30 words per slide. The reasoning behind this is that people retain only a small part of what they see, and images often resonate more emotionally than text. As a presenter, you want your audience to retain your deck’s information.

When you worry about slide count or even word count, it’s often at a disservice to your topic and information. You should hone your content to fit the breadth of your topic: If you’re giving this presentation to a live audience, it should fit your time slot and that audience. You may make the choice to edit the deck for SlideShare.

Consider your SlideShare audience.

When you give a presentation, you’ve likely honed and tailored it to a specific knowledge level and demographic. However, when you upload it to SlideShare, you are opening up to a broader audience. This audience is likely less technical and less niche focused. That’s not to say technical and niche decks don’t find success on SlideShare—they just may require some extra marketing effort.

Consider the medium.

Many SlideShare fans now consume decks on their mobile devices instead of a desktop. When looking at a presentation on desktop, text of any size is generally easy to read. But on a mobile device, pinching and zooming too-small text takes the ease of reading away.

In addition to large text, bold images keep all eyes on your presentation. Images compel 45 per cent of viewers into continuing to flip through all your slides. You want your SlideShare audience to consume your entire deck.

Find the Right Topic for Your SlideShare Presentation

  • Buzzwords and trends in your industry Title: Brian Solis’ buzzword: “disruption”
  • Future trends and topics Title: Mary Meeker discusses future internet trendsNumbered lists
  • Title: SOAP Presentations created a popular listicle
  • Presentations about giving better presentations Title: Jesse Desjardins helps presenters create more powerful decks

SlideShare is a business-focused network, and business topics find the most success.

Entrepreneurs, technologists, marketers, and other business-minded people find presentations a captivating medium. So it’s no surprise to see certain topics stand out among others.

Buzzwords and other trends: You want to capitalize on buzzwords and other trends in your industry. Technologist Brian Solis has won on SlideShare by creating annual presentations focused on the trend of “disruption.” Others have taken on popular marketing and business trends such as content marketing (and how not to fail) or tough love to millennials in the workforce.

Future-focused: Entrepreneurs and business leaders come to SlideShare seeking future-focused topics. Venture capitalist Mary Meeker has build up an incredible following for her annual internet trends report. Year-over-year, this report has successfully pointed toward advancements in technology and other insights into marketing, use of computing devices, and hot topics. You may not have access to Meeker’s insights and numbers, but you can set yourself apart in your niche. For example, We Are Social dives into specific social media numbers and patterns across the globe. They understand how to convey direct insights in what their community wants, and they gain more audience by addressing often-neglected geographic locations.

Numbered lists: Like many other publishers, numbered lists attract attention on SlideShare. If your headline matches its promise with solid information to those seeking solutions, you’ll have a winner. Some popular presentations include:

Meta on presentations: Additionally, meta topics about how to build presentations and give better presentations perform well on SlideShare. Many of the most successful decks take a negative spin on slide design or stage performance, and then show you how to correct shortcomings. Marketer Jesse Desjardins combines both the idea of numbered lists, meta topics, and a negative spin in his successful SlideShare: You Suck At PowerPoint! 5 Shocking Design Mistakes You Need to Avoid.

Try for evergreen topics.

The vast majority of slide decks with 1 million (or more) views on SlideShare have been there for years. They also all solve or address ongoing business problems. Trends and hot topics fade after a while, but no matter how the world changes, here are some evergreen topics and successful decks.

Great Evergreen Topics for Your SlideShare Presentation

  • Venture capital pitches Title: Rand Fishkin shares his company’s journey
  • People management Title: Laszlo Bock on creating excellent company culture
  • Storytelling Title: How Pixar tells powerful stories
  • Human psychology Title: Daniel Goleman teaches the basics of EQ Learn programming
  • Title: Ryan Bonhardt’s deck from Creator’s Camp

Venture capital pitches: Entrepreneurs love SlideShare, so it’s no shock that VC pitch decks go nuts in views. Most business pitches are done behind closed doors, which means that companies who are able to share and be transparent about their business and process acquiring venture capital are cherished. Software company founder Rand Fishkin’s VC pitch deck from 2011 continues to be sought after.

People management: Employers will always need employees, and making your people happy is as much an art as a science. If your company is known for being a great place to work, people want to know how the magic happens. Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, not only wrote a book about Google’s secrets to keeping and growing great talent, but he shared his major HR tips with the world.

Storytelling: Science and technology change and expand before our eyes, but the art of a great story is timeless. A great story makes for a great presentation, and we know many people come to SlideShare to learn about how to give better talks. So when storyteller Gavin McMahon broke down the components of Pixar’s greatest stories, it’s not surprising his deck has received 1.4 million views.

Human psychology: We’re fascinated by the way our brains work, how we think, and how we behave. We crave ways to learn how to read body language or make a power pose to build confidence. Moreover, we want to know this about ourselves. That’s why it unsurprising that coach Daniel Goleman broke down his deck, How emotionally intelligent are you?, with a question and self-assessment. Other evergreen psychology content has gone further with self-assessment quizzes.

Learn programming!: Technology changes, but the desire and aspiration to learn programming never seems to go away. Programmers, such as Ryan Bonhardt, know that breaking down fundamentals and the mystery of programming make great content.

If you’re unsure how evergreen your latest slide deck is, leave it up on SlideShare. Only time will tell.

Upload your deck the right way.

You always want to start out on the right foot, and that begins the moment you hit upload on SlideShare.

Upload a PDF of your deck: If you include non-standard fonts in your deck, your presentation won’t look as good on someone else’s computer or mobile device because it’s unlikely they’ll have your exact fonts. You can avoid weird fonts, which may run off slides or wrap in an awkward manner, by saving your deck as a PDF and uploading that instead. Keep in mind that PDFs will break any videos, audio, or animated gifs—you can always link to those videos or audio files, and if you really want to be ambitious and keep your multimedia, you can save each slide with text as an image and rebuild the deck.

Add context to your slides: Oftentimes, slides built for the stage are more visual with less text because you don’t want to be reading your slides to the audience. This means you’ll need to add extra context for the SlideShare crowd. This is additional work, but it is guaranteed to increase your relevance. Portent Inc. CEO Ian Lurie adds obvious black boxes to his slides with relevant parts of his speech.

SlideShare attempts to help you by grabbing text from your slides to put into a transcript below the deck. However, images and other features do not translate well. Jon Colman, Facebook’s Content Strategist, leads his viewers back to his website where he lists all the resources they can access to learn more.

Give yourself an SEO headstart: SlideShare has built-in optimization for search engine optimization, or SEO. Especially if you’re looking to build your personal brand, take advantage of this: Make sure your title explains what the deck’s about and isn’t just catchy fluff. Edit your URL to be friendly for the content. Hone your description for your presentation, and lose needless words like “in this presentation.” Add keywords, which, while they don’t affect SEO, will make discovering your work via SlideShare’s categories easier.

Brand it: The best presentations are quoted and “clipped” (SlideShare’s term for taking a screenshot). When people cite and show your work, especially when they clip a slide to use in their own materials, you want everyone to know it’s you. Make sure to including branding on each slide, such as your name, Twitter handle, or company logo.

Steps to Being Successful on SlideShare

  • Share valuable content
    • Create something people want
    • Make it relevant
    • Rehash someone else’s content
    • Repurpose your own content
    • End with a call to action
  • Use stunning visuals
    • Focus on the cover design
    • Make it beautiful
    • Use out-of-the-box compositions
  • Have a marketing strategy
    • News jack
    • Leave them wanting more
    • Get shares from experts
    • Make sharing effortless

Hypercharge your views.

The most successful slide decks on SlideShare aren’t uploaded and then forgotten. Instead, they’re promoted.

Share them on social media and use proper hashtags: Don’t forget to share your presentations across your social networks. It’s even better if you can get your company to share with their audience, too. If it’s for a conference, share it on the conference hashtag or in the conference’s community. Make sure to promote it on LinkedIn (which owns SlideShare), where people already go to discover and learn about business topics.

Get featured: SlideShare employs human editors who pick the best content to promote on their homepage, in categories, and on their social media. There’s no way to make this happen. However, if your content’s relevant, uploaded correctly, and shared beyond just SlideShare, there’s a good change the editors will notice your efforts.

Embedding elsewhere and link building: Every deck with hundreds of thousands of views has gotten traffic elsewhere and outside of SlideShare. Clear facts and figures in your deck can make it easy to link to or embed. Traditional PR campaigns around your topic can build those views quickly. The Wall Street Journal did this with their Activate Tech and Media Outlook 2016 deck. Their deck was built for coverage; other publications like The Verge and Guardian, and niche industries like Social Media Today and Cinema Blend picked it up.

Try video: SlideShare lets you upload videos, not just decks. Users have posted everything from interviews to conference footage of them presenting. Because video isn’t traditionally what people look for, returns may be variable.

See your slides shine!

With a bit of extra work, your decks will stand out on SlideShare, earning more views, shares, and links over time. If you want to build your credentials on SlideShare and further your expertise in your industry, don’t overlook this valuable network: Upload your presentations and don’t miss the opportunity to give your deck an extra boost.

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Erica McGillivray

Erica McGillivray is a writer, community manager, and marketing consultant. At Moz, she wrangled an online marketing and SEO-focused community of 600,000. She's also a founder of GeekGirlCon, an all-volunteer nonprofit. Erica has a comic book collection that's an earthquake hazard. Follow her at @emcgillivray.  

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